We can't define beauty - we shouldn't even try to define beauty - because no matter what we do, there will still be a sea of women, wishing they could look like the designated models.
Outside our house, we have a bird feeder.
Now, this bird feeder has been specially designed so that squirrels can't get into it. Still, the squirrels around our house absolutely insist upon trying to get birdseed out of the feeder. Today, one of them succeeded.
My parents and I are particularly annoyed by the squirrels that manage to eke out a bit of birdseed from the feeder. After all, a birdfeeder is for birds, right?
Today, my mom was banging on the window, trying to get a squirrel to get away from the bird feeder, when a thought randomly presented itself in my mind.
"You know, if we decided the bird feeder was a squirrel feeder, then we wouldn't be angry anymore."
You see, if we decided that the bird feeder was a squirrel feeder, then we'd be happy that all the squirrels were eating out of it. But if we christened it a squirrel feeder, then we'd be irritated when birds ate out of it!
Now, this might seem all kind of pointless, but when I thought about it later...I realized that the same can be said of beauty. You see, nowadays, our society has created rules about what beauty is and isn't. Girls are distraught when they can't fit into a size 2 pair of jeans or have perfectly tan skin. Somehow, it's been determined that girls are only pretty if they're skinny or tan or whatever rules they force upon themselves.
The ironic thing is, years ago, it was considered unattractive to be skinny. Being skinny meant you didn't have enough to eat. Women with curves were admired, not scorned! And if you were tan, then it meant you were in a sort of "lower class" - the only women who were tan were those who worked long hours out in the sun, and "ladies" were supposed to do as little work as possible.
For the life of me, I can't remember which tribe it was, but there used to be a certain tribe where women literally tried to be as obese as possible. In their culture, obesity was a sign of beauty. They didn't want to be skinny! If they would've seen the skeletons girls nowadays try to starve themselves into, then don't you think they'd be appalled? And they'd have good reason to be!
Suddenly, though, the face of fashion is represented by a tan supermodel with size double zero jeans, an extra small top, and a size triple-negative A bust. Their hair is perfect, their make-up is just so, and they seem to fit the requirements for a "perfect beauty" (don't even get me started on the airbrushing issue!). Perceptions have changed so greatly...
You're probably wondering what this has to do with the squirrel feeder. See, the two issues are subtly connected.
If we just changed our views about the bird feeder, then we would be satisfied. But if the bird feeder was changed to a squirrel feeder, then the birds would be excluded.
If we just changed our views about beauty, then we would be satisfied. But if beauty was changed from "small" to "large," then the "small" people would be excluded.
What if the face of beauty was a well-curved, fair-skinned woman with a "large"-sized pair of jeans, an XL top, and a size D bra? Wouldn't we all strive to be like her? But then, wouldn't the people who can't attain that figure be left dissatisfied?
Honestly, I don't have the solution to all this. I know it's a definite "no-no" to leave a problem unsolved when you're writing - to not tie up loose ends - but for as long as humanity exists, so will the problem with beauty. We can't define beauty - we shouldn't even try to define beauty - because no matter what we do, there will still be a sea of women, wishing they could look like the designated models.
I guess one thing society needs to realize (myself included!) is that beauty is relative. There will always be people who think I'm pretty; there will always be people who think I'm ugly.
And there will always be squirrels, trying unsuccessfully to get into the bird feeders.